If you see this message after the standard “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate”, it’s probably not a serious problem. This message usually appears because you’re visiting a website using HTTPS with the wrong URL.
HTTPS is a security protocol that verifies the identity of websites and encrypts traffic. To verify a website’s identity, HTTPS uses an SSL certificate, which is like a driver’s license for a web server.
The most common cause of this error is that the name you used to access the web server doesn’t match the website’s “official” name (known as the “common name”) listed on the SSL certificate. It’s like calling me Anthony Northrup, even though it says Tony Northrup on my license. For Web servers, it usually means the certificate was issued for “www.vistaclues.com” and you’re accessing “vistaclues.com”, or vice-versa.
For example, visit my homepage using SSL and the correct name (www.northrup.org). No problem. Now, visit it using SSL and an incorrect, but still valid, name (northrup.org). You’ll see the error. It’s the same website, just the wrong name.
So, the first step in troubleshooting this problem is just to try other names. If you’re not sure of the correct name, click Continue to this website. Once at the website, follow these steps to view the proper name for the website:
Protected Mode is one of Windows Vista’s best new security features. With it, Internet Explorer (and anything that a bad website might do when you visit it with Internet Explorer) runs with very minimal rights to your computer. In fact, it can’t read your personal documents, install programs, or do anything that might damage your computer. This will stop a lot of spyware that automatically installed itself when the user visited a website.
If you do need to do something that Protected Mode would normally block, it’ll prompt you, as shown above. If this becomes annoying for a particular website, you can stop Protected Mode just for that website by adding it to your Trusted Sites zone. Just follow these steps:
ActiveX is a technology for extending what Internet Explorer can do. Some Web pages use ActiveX controls to display animations, play games, verify the integrity of your Windows installation, or do other things that the browser couldn’t normally do.
Standard users can’t install most ActiveX controls–you need to be an administrator. If you only give your users a standard login, they might run into problems using ActiveX. To enable users to install specific ActiveX controls, you can use the ActiveX Installer Service.
The ActiveX Installer Service is disabled by default (well, it’s not even installed). To install it, follow these steps:
If you can’t start Internet Explorer, the problem is probably caused by an add-on. You can verify this by launching Internet Explorer with add-ons disabled:
- Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-Ons).
If Internet Explorer does start this way but doesn’t start using the standard shortcut, add-ons are definitely causing your problems. Close Internet Explorer, and then follow these steps to disable any add-ons that you have recently installed: